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Missy is back on song
Missy Higgins. Picture:

Missy Higgins admits she can go either way but, if the Melbourne singer- songwriter had to commit, she’d say she’s more of a dog person. This is despite owning a big fluffy black cat, Molly.

Via the iPhone app PetRescue, she is looking to adopt a dog. One of the furry friends she has applied for is called, of all things, Missy.

Chatting over a cup of tea in a Sydney cafe, Higgins imagines the scene. The ARIA Award-winning musician, who has battled depression and only recently returned to making music after stepping away from her craft, wandering around a suburban park shouting her own name over and over. “She’s finally gone nuts,” Higgins laughs.

The 29-year-old is now in a much happier place after the relentless international touring and promotion for second album, On a Clear Night, left her totally burnt out.

Despite making inroads in the US and Australian fans propelling the album to the top of the charts and triple platinum sales (more than 210,000 copies), Higgins thought she was done and dusted as a recording artist.

Five years after the second album, Higgins returned with the Nashville-recorded The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle. Like her previous two albums, the new one shot to No. 1 and has earnt platinum status, as well as two ARIA Awards, including best adult contemporary album.

Higgins says the warm embrace from fans has been more important than trophies and has really put the ol’ razzle dazzle back into music.

“I didn’t know how it was going to go because I took so much time off and there were plenty of people that said, you know, that’s career suicide,” she says.

“All I wanted to do with this album was have fun making it and be really creative. I thought ‘If I really like it, then that’s a good first step’. For so many years I was writing songs that I just didn’t like, that I wasn’t inspired by,” Higgins says.

“If I don’t like it, then no one else is going to.”

While the album, which has spawned three very different singles (Unashamed Desire, Everyone’s Waiting and, most recently, Set Me on Fire), has satisfied the songstress, the real test of her comeback was whether she could keep pace with the touring and promotional treadmill.

The proliferation of music websites has meant that Higgins couldn’t escape doing 20-plus interviews a day to spruik The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle. But she has learnt to draw a line in the sand as far as touring is concerned.

After the Australian tour wraps she will play New Zealand gigs in February and then that’s it apart from the odd festival appearance.

“I know my limits this time, I guess,” Higgins says. “In the past I would just keep on touring this album for another year or two. Previously I would think ‘I’ve got to do more, I’ve got to work it, I’ve got to grind myself down to the bone’.

“It’s a finite well, you know, the creativity well, and you can’t keep starting on empty. You’ve got to stop when you’ve got a little bit left to give, in order to use that as a platform for the next project.”

Missy Higgins plays the Fremantle Arts Centre on Saturday and Sunday, supported by Kate Miller- Heidke. Tickets from the usual outlets.